W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2007

Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Maurice Carey <maurice@thymeonline.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 11:33:40 -0400
To: HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C2A16414.2DFB%maurice@thymeonline.com>

On 6/22/07 10:29 AM, "Philip Taylor (Webmaster)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>

> Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
>>> <li><a><img title="a butterfly" alt="an image of a butterfly"></a></li>
>>> That seems sort of pointlessly repetitive to me.
>> Indeed. The text "an image of a butterfly" is complementary, not an
>> alternative. It can make sense for a title attribute but is useless as ALT
>> text.
> I am interested in this assertion.  Suppose, instead, the ALT text
> read "Papilio xuthus : photographed resting on leaf of Phelloderldron
> amurensis;
> image taken using Zuiko macro lens at 4cm on Olympus OM4-Ti, f/16, 0,5
> seconds,
> ISO 100 (ring flash); photograph taken 05:17 on Monday 18-Jun-2006, Kuril
> Island".
> Would that also be (in your opinion) "useless as ALT text", and if so, can you
> suggest what suitable ALT text might be ?
> Philip Taylor

Did a search through the databases of 22 of our sites that use our image
gallery cms for the longest image descriptions/captions. I am quite certain
none of people who enter photos for our clients sites would ever write
anything so long for the purpose of it being used as invisible alt text
instead of as a visible caption. If it were being used as the title value
which is visible on mouse-over then I could see it being a possibility.

I still say alt text should be visible as a tool tip in the absence of a
title and vice versa.

What about when it's a photo of 5 or 6 people? I think it would make sense
to say <img alt="A photo of Terrance, Sherry, Mcquell, Vera, Clee, Moses,
and Aiqua" src="...">

But then it would also make sense to say on the very next line:
<span class="article mainphoto_caption">
L-R: Terrance, Sherry, Mcquell, Vera, Clee, Moses, and Aiqua

But I think the it's shouldn't be necessary to have to duplicate the same
info all the time.

And yes based on your example I should also mention where they're standing,
how they're posed, what they're wearing, which ones blinked during the
photo, what season it is etc. But after just listing their names it's
already a ton of text that I'd rather have as a real paragraph on the page
(might have an SEO benefit?)

The suggestion that I've kept making in previous emails is to put in place
rules defining that <img> tags withing <figures> should be handled in a
sensible way regarding the <legend>(caption) of the figure that will most
likely make the alt value uselessly repetitive in that case.

::   thyme online ltd
::   po box cb13650  nassau  the bahamas
::   website: http://www.thymeonline.com/
::   tel: 242 327-1864  fax: 242 377 1038
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 15:33:56 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:22 UTC